“The greatest clairvoyant ability is the ability to see yourself, and the greatest psychic ability is the ability to know yourself.” These opening words are from Kris Cahill, who asked me to write this guest post on “seeing clearly.”
When events conspire to bring us to a decision to change some aspect of ourselves from the inside out, often we feel faced with just one more thing to add to the list of stuff to do in an effort to “do less and be more.” How ironic this is. The busier we are, the more difficult it seems to just stop and spend time with ourselves. Like, how do we find time to do that?
How we imagine ourselves, what we allow ourselves to know about ourselves, correlate with how we’ve created our lives on the physical plane. We have an idea about who we think we are or who we want to be, and then our creative selves flesh it out, we manifest that idea and create a lifestyle around it. The inner idea of you and the outer experience of you hold your personal gestalt together.
But in order to create fundamental changes in how we see ourselves, in what we know to be our personal truths, in how we “do” our lives — it may be necessary for us to be willing to let go of many, most or even all that we think we hold dear. If we don’t surrender to letting go of time-worn ways of being, to moving the old stuff out, there’s simply no room for anything new to come into our experience. There’s no way we can even imagine life being any different because we’ve become locked into trying to live a life that might have worked at some earlier point but doesn’t anymore. And we’re stuck.
Examine all those self-created structures that have defined you until now. Big change could mean divorce or separation from a partner, moving to a much smaller home and/or relocating, a shift in the work you do or how or even if you work, getting rid of every single thing that’s extraneous to the life you really want and need to be living now, giving up addictions to substances or shopping or media, letting go of stale relationships and people who no longer bring you joy. If it feels like time for you to make big changes and you’re clueless where to begin, you could start by methodically going through every single thing you own and committing to sell or freecycle anything that smacks of holding on to the past. Where you’re headed, you simply won’t need it.
For the last six months I’ve been at the tail end of a 5-year major life change, a downsize of probably 80 percent from the way my life used to be, in every aspect. The short story is that I had been holding on to a lifestyle that was no longer who I was becoming and probably never had been, I couldn’t afford it financially or psychically but wasn’t able to see that while I was still striving to succeed at it. The years of energy I’d put into various attempts to support this false lifestyle turned to naught. Absolutely nothing was working. It seemed as though I had no choice, then, but to let go.
Fast forward five years and everything is different ~ where and how I live, how much stuff I own, when and how I work, what I drive, the art I make, how I spend my time. It’s all working now, and one thing is certain ~ in letting go of so much on so many levels, I created the time and space to find out who I really am, how I operate, what my life is really about, what works for me and what doesn’t. I had no room inside to realize any of this previously. Now I have the space to clearly see and know who I am and what my life is about.
Without the unnecessary trappings of living someone else’s idea of how my life should be, I’ve been able to see that my life is about healing myself. It always has been. I recognize earlier times in my life when I began down this path, and I see where it got frightening and I chose to give up on myself, thinking I would/could/should fit the proffered lifestyle “dream” if I just tried hard enough. I was off course for 25 years.
I’m back on track now. Life is a lot simpler when lived from within. How this looks for me is that I spend the majority of my time being an artist. I live and make art in the same tiny studio. I have everything I really need and I’m rigorous about unnecessary spending. I’m no longer in debt and I live comfortably on what I bring in each month. I won’t overcommit myself to anyone or anything, especially if it doesn’t feed my soul. I spend most of my time alone, in solitude, making art and healing.
If you want to see clearly, you have to begin to remove the distractions and delusions from your life. If you want to know who you are, you need to embrace life at the most fundamental levels. It takes courage. It’s sometimes painful. And it’s worth it.
Collage by Connie Rose
Connie Rose is a textile designer and digital photographer. She has been an artist and been on a personal healing journey for over forty years. She lives in rural Humboldt County, California.